The performances in Yummy are outrageous, stylish, and sexually explosive.
One of the major delights of the show is that you are introduced to an entire cast of performers with personalities. The Edinburgh run is comprised of Valerie Hex (also Director and Producer), Benjamin Hancock, Karen From Finance, Hannie Helsden, Zelia Rose, and Jandruze. Each member of Yummy brings bespoke skills and indomitable personalities that energise the expansive Assembly Roxy space, and the chemistry between the six Queens is tantalising and collaborative. Roles are evenly spaced and there is never a feeling of one cast member being the ‘star’ at the cost of any of the others. As such, the group numbers are a tour de force. Hex’s direction commands the stage, and the group choreography fires a barrage of sex, skill, and stagecraft straight into the audience, many of whom are struggling to keep up with the provocative parade. Elements of audience participation are encouraged, and each performer can play a crowd to ensure they are screaming for more.
The stage management and use of props in Yummy denotes a creative vision and love of craft. The props are a masterclass in outrageous imagery and comic stagecraft – without spoiling anything, the show is a parade of kink and drag dressed in leather, fur, sequins and latex; each piece has a heavily stylised theme, and opening sequences prove that prop and costume design in Yummy revels in the absurd. The ensemble mine a depth of kink that constantly surprises and entertains, and whilst audience members were laughing and screaming at set-pieces, there was a latent atmosphere of respect too. Yummy have shown a dedication and artisanship that surprises and challenges the drag form.
The show is acutely aware of structure and the importance of rhythm when delivering rapid fire performances. Hex’s direction deserves particular praise, as it intimately understands the relationship between explosive energy and theatrical nuance. The barrage of kink and creativity never becomes tiresome – it is always a joy. Karen From Finance acts as an MC, allowing the audience to resettle themselves after raucous events on stage, and creating breathing space for performers to change and arrange themselves for the next act. Transitions are seamless and smooth, and the show avoids any sense of formula – the stage space feels capricious, explosive, unrepentantly outrageous.
Whenever you can, go and see Yummy. This is modern and progressive drag founded upon a love of craft and expertise. This show is polished. The cast delivers on their mission statement to entertain and provide a space which celebrates the artistry of drag, as well as a love of expression and sex. The show that this award – winning act from Melbourne have brought to Edinburgh is a sheer delight, and one of the cabaret gems of the 2018 Fringe.